A fantastic overview of why we should all DEFINITELY be feminists. Simplified and easy to understand explanation which is more than necessary in a world where some people continue to disregard feminism as man-hating or irrelevant. I’d love for everyone to read this at some point.
We Should All Be Feminists is one important book, raising some serious issues but handling the subject in a warm way. Based on a TEDx talk the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave in 2012, at just 52 pages this is a short essay that everyone should read. Gender equality is something I strongly believe in, and in this day and age it’s unacceptable what some women still have to put up with, Ngozi Adichie’s voice is emphatic and clear as to the message she is getting across. This is not the language of warfare towards men, far from it, or pitting one sex against the other, she recognizes that society as a whole must change if equality is to be achieved.
The first thing that came to mind after I finished the book is that the most things that the author talks about in her essay are things that happened to me, to my friends, to the women I know in my life and are still happening in these days too, how we are told to behave in a certain manner, to never feel anger, to be always polite, to make ourselves desirable to men whether we want that or not, to have careers but not to forget that our original goal is to have a family and to give birth to a lot of kids. I didn’t anticipate this book to really hit that close to home but it did.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie not only explains what it means to be a feminist today and how people see you once they know that discover that you are a feminist, but she also takes a deep and honest look at the discriminations we suffer from today based on gender and how some deep-rooted notions are to blame for the separations in perception when it comes to both genders; men and women are perceived or treated or thought off in the same way because society has made it its job to create a difference where it shouldn’t be one.
A woman shouldn’t be told to dress differently to gain respect or affection, her success shouldn’t be measured by the fact that she is married or not, she shouldn’t be told not to get angry because it’s not the feminine thing to and men shouldn’t be treated with scorn if they are soft and vulnerable, they shouldn’t be raised to be hard and solid all the time, they shouldn’t be told to be masculine all the time. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells us not only that we all should be feminists but how we need to stop raising our children based on their gender and start seeing who they really are and what they want and what are they capable of doing.
I can’t recommend this book hard enough – go and read it! It’s not going to take a lot of your time, it’s only 52 pages long but it will make you think about feminism in a more accurate approach that has seriousness, transparency, and levity. I will leave you with these quotes that made me stop, reread them and think:
“We raise girls to see each other as competitors – not for jobs or accomplishments, which in my opinion can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.”
“We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about their girlfriends. But our daughters’ boyfriends? God forbid. (But we, of course, expect them to bring home the perfect man for marriage when the time is right.)”
“We police girls. We praise girls for virginity but we don’t praise boys for virginity (and it makes me wonder how exactly this is supposed to work out since the loss of virginity is a process that usually involves two people of opposite genders).”
“Of course much of this was tongue-in-cheek, but what it shows is how that word feminist is so heavy with baggage, negative baggage: you hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, you think women should always be in charge, you don’t wear make-up, you don’t shave, you’re always angry, you don’t have a sense of humor, you don’t use deodorant.”
“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femininity. And I want to be respected in all my femaleness. Because I deserve to be. I like politics and history and am happiest when having a good argument about ideas. I am girly. I am happily girly. I like high heels and trying on lipsticks. It’s nice to be complimented by both men and women (although I have to be honest and say that I prefer the compliments of stylish women), but I often wear clothes that men don’t like or don’t ‘understand’. I wear them because I like them and because I feel good in them. The ‘male gaze’, as a shaper of my life’s choices, is largely incidental.”